I AM Tucson

25 Feb

“I never realized how much of a college town Tucson was, until I began attending the U of A…”

Growing up in Tucson, I was constantly exposed to Wildcat attire, U of A athletics, and field trips to the University itself. But, even with all this incriminating evidence of Tucson’s co-dependency with the University of Arizona, I didn’t view my hometown as a “College Town” until the truth made itself known.

Within the first several days of my freshman year, I began making friends, friends with people from all over the nation. But I was pleasantly surprised – or maybe the thought just never really occurred to me – that there were A LOT of people from Tucson here! And when you meet someone who is from the same city or town as you, what do you immediately follow with? “Really? What part?” I nearly always heard a different answer: The North-side, East-side, Marana, Central Tucson, The Foothills, Oro Valley, Sunnyside. The population of students from Tucson was from all over Tucson, and a lot of them still lived in those locations. I know for one that I still lived with my parents out in Marana as a part of Greater Tucson and other Tucson locals did the same thing within their respective locations. We were all over the place! Wildcats everywhere (throw your hands up in the air).

Over the years, those students I met who were orignally from out-of-town or out-of-state and lived in the dorms found themselves moving out and renting or buying homes near campus, giving the U of A and its students an economical importance to the community. During this real estate downturn in the Market right now, Tucson will always have one consistency: the university. The U of A brings thousands of potential home-owners or renters to the City of Tucson.

Local businesses also understand the importance of The University. I can’t go anywhere without seeing a student discount or special option. Especially when going out to eat. Especially near campus. This surge in revenue goes right back in to the community via local businesses and organizations.

Is this why Tucson locals wear their Wildcat Red and Blue proudly? Is this why the UA Mall is completely filled with tailgaters and RVs? Is this why if you ask any T-Loc what Bear Down is or who the Girl Wildcat is, they can tell you? Who knows. What I do know is that Tucson has a rich, diverse cultural background and strong spirit that holds us all together. Even in the hardest times. Whether you realize it or not, if you live in Tucson, you live with the University of Arizona.

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